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Janlc21

Gluten free options koningsdam?

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I'm a first time cruiser and I have celiac's disease and therefore must eat gluten free. I'm concerned I will be sick. Anyone with experience on this ship?

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I'm curious about this as well from anyone with experience. I also have celiac disease and have to eat gluten free. I've heard really good things from others across the web that it wasn't at all an issue and they were accommodated on other HAL cruises, so I doubt it won't be much different on the Koningsdam. I emailed HAL per the information found here on page 8 to request gluten free accommodations. I just emailed yesterday (I have 5+ months til we sail) and haven't heard back yet.

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/assets/cruise-vacation-onboard/KBYG.pdf

 

Special Diets and Meals: Kosher*, Passover Seder dinner, salt-free, fat-free, baby food, diabetic and other special dietary needs can be accommodated only with advance notification. For special meal arrangements, please contact the Ship Services Department at 1-800-541-1576 (or email: hal_ship_services@hollandamerica.com) at least 90 days prior to departure.

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My wife and Brother in law both require a gluten free diet . Holland handles it very well. In the buffet ask one of the main chiefs ( not the server) what is gluten free or can quickly be made for you. The MDR is well prepared for special diets.

We you go to the MDR , tell your table steward that you require a special diet. The the head waiter comes over qnd tells what is already gluten free or quickly can be made gluten free . Many of the gluten free dishes are produced withot the sauce or gravy. Sometime during the meal the Head waiter will let you look at the Lunch and Dinner menu for the next day . He will take your order in advance for both meals and tells you what can produced Gluten Free . They also can supply Gluten Free toast and muffins are aviable on request. Lunch is best eaten in the MDR if possible when available because you can pre order the day before.

Princess , Celebrity and Holland America are all able to supply gluten free meals.

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My wife has a gluten sensitivity and for the most part HAL is quite good about gluten free, however she was glutened a few times on our last trip.

 

Advice and lessons learned:

 

1) Have fixed seating in the MDR. Our wait staff was superb at ensuring things were gluten free and were great about getting my wife GF bread for dinner. You will be given a copy of the menu the night before to make a selection for the next day. We had zero problems in the dining room. The specialty restaurants are also good.

 

2) On the Nieuw Amsterdam, in the Lido, there was one staff member who worked the waffle/pasta station who knew what was going on when it came to GF. That would be the station you would likely go to if you were getting GF bread or pasta products in the Lido. Hopefully this is a standard procedure for each ship.

 

3) Even the 'chefs' can make mistakes about ingredients. If something would normally have gluten in it, there is a good bet it will have gluten despite a chef telling you otherwise. My wife had some triffle we were told was gluten free and it wasn't.

 

4) Watch out for the buns at the Dive In. This was another spot where my wife had gluten. Most of the time she got a proper GF bun, but one time she didn't.

 

5) Afternoon tea was the other spot with problems. They had sandwiches made up on GF bread and kept separate, but one time those sandwiches were made with regular bread.

 

6). The pizza thing on the NA had GF crusts available.

 

In the future I'll be the guinea pig for my wife and will test breads if there is any doubt. For the most part GF bread stands out from regular bread based on size and texture so just keep an eye on that. If the bread is soft and yummy, it isn't GF.

 

I think you should be fine and many others have been without problems. The problems I listed above happened on a 3 week cruise. I hope I haven't scared you. Despite the problems of our last cruise, we are on another HAL cruise in a few weeks.

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Sadly, we have had two very different experiences as my mom has to eat gluten free and also has severe food allergies, although not on the Koningsdam, which has more pax then the Ms Rotterdam.

We are always very well prepared, with a printed sheet with her food allergies, choose fixed dining first seating (least chance of cross contamination) and fill out all forms.

 

First time on Ms Rotterdam:

Pre-filled in a form with gf foods to show what she liked (white bread/brown bread, pasta's, cookies, muffins etc.)

Great dining room staff, desserts where a problem (only mousse, nothing much else), and had to ask for separate butter bowl.

Great 2nd chef at the buffet (Lido), would keep her favourites separate and help out to make sure she wouldn't be glutened

Pizza; tasty

Dive In; not done on that cruise

Great experience over all, happily recommended pax with food allergies or food intolerance book HAL.

 

 

Second time this year on Ms Rotterdam:

No GF form anymore, tried filling in web form, didn't work. Called HAL about it several times, finally e-mailed ship services. Got no reply.

HAL said it was fixed; mom kept getting reminders

 

Great dining room staff, got some great desserts this time, had to ask for separate butter bowl again, but always had gluten free bread

Some dishes had no veg or no carbs on them, even though menu was chosen day before. Unsure if kitchen staff just forgot, or if there is something in there she can't eat and they forgot to substitute.

Lido: a mess, gluten free stuff in between gluten area's, problems getting glutened, staff not knowing what was what or what was gluten free. Gluten free desserts on menu at lunch, but not actually present at the buffet. Problems Problems Problems.

Pizza: Glutened because server forgot to change gloves

Dive In: had sauce on first gf bun (can't have due to other allergies, server didn't note no sauce), ask for a remake. Told no more gf buns. Received overcooked grilled chicken.

 

We complained many times about this, finally having to escalate. Still awaiting upon a reply from HAL which they promised before the 18th, when today is the 19th. Very disappointed about how this was handled. Hoping they make it right with us. At this point, I can't recommend you book HAL, unless you don't mind having problems or spending a large part of your holiday educating staff.

 

It's truly a management issue for us, as it seems everybody had problems with food safety. If you put a gluten free bun in the gluten free bun toaster, then grab waffles for a second client, then use those gloves to grab out the gluten free bun... that's no longer gluten free. It seemed we had to explain that to everybody, as well as seeing that during busy times it's impossible for them to keep up with gluten free regulations. When busy times usually mean 3 pax asking for something, which is almost always. Another pax on the same cruise also got glutened, same as my mom. At least they didn't mess up with one of the life threatening food allergies, but I'm still angry about how this was handled. Cruise Director said they dropped the ball and they did, so let's hope they talk to me next week.

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Sadly, we have had two very different experiences as my mom has to eat gluten free and also has severe food allergies, although not on the Koningsdam, which has more pax then the Ms Rotterdam.

We are always very well prepared, with a printed sheet with her food allergies, choose fixed dining first seating (least chance of cross contamination) and fill out all forms.

 

First time on Ms Rotterdam:

Pre-filled in a form with gf foods to show what she liked (white bread/brown bread, pasta's, cookies, muffins etc.)

Great dining room staff, desserts where a problem (only mousse, nothing much else), and had to ask for separate butter bowl.

Great 2nd chef at the buffet (Lido), would keep her favourites separate and help out to make sure she wouldn't be glutened

Pizza; tasty

Dive In; not done on that cruise

Great experience over all, happily recommended pax with food allergies or food intolerance book HAL.

 

 

Second time this year on Ms Rotterdam:

No GF form anymore, tried filling in web form, didn't work. Called HAL about it several times, finally e-mailed ship services. Got no reply.

HAL said it was fixed; mom kept getting reminders

 

Great dining room staff, got some great desserts this time, had to ask for separate butter bowl again, but always had gluten free bread

Some dishes had no veg or no carbs on them, even though menu was chosen day before. Unsure if kitchen staff just forgot, or if there is something in there she can't eat and they forgot to substitute.

Lido: a mess, gluten free stuff in between gluten area's, problems getting glutened, staff not knowing what was what or what was gluten free. Gluten free desserts on menu at lunch, but not actually present at the buffet. Problems Problems Problems.

Pizza: Glutened because server forgot to change gloves

Dive In: had sauce on first gf bun (can't have due to other allergies, server didn't note no sauce), ask for a remake. Told no more gf buns. Received overcooked grilled chicken.

 

We complained many times about this, finally having to escalate. Still awaiting upon a reply from HAL which they promised before the 18th, when today is the 19th. Very disappointed about how this was handled. Hoping they make it right with us. At this point, I can't recommend you book HAL, unless you don't mind having problems or spending a large part of your holiday educating staff.

 

It's truly a management issue for us, as it seems everybody had problems with food safety. If you put a gluten free bun in the gluten free bun toaster, then grab waffles for a second client, then use those gloves to grab out the gluten free bun... that's no longer gluten free. It seemed we had to explain that to everybody, as well as seeing that during busy times it's impossible for them to keep up with gluten free regulations. When busy times usually mean 3 pax asking for something, which is almost always. Another pax on the same cruise also got glutened, same as my mom. At least they didn't mess up with one of the life threatening food allergies, but I'm still angry about how this was handled. Cruise Director said they dropped the ball and they did, so let's hope they talk to me next week.

I have sat at many a table in the MDR with cruisers with allergies and witnessed the table Captain bringing to those people the next days menu to choose their offerings.

How to be certain in a buffet the size of the Lido to provide with certainty for all the allergies GF, Nuts, Etc. Etc. and to insure in preparation that none the above come within proximity of each other or the utensils used or served with, is beyond me other than perhaps 6 new separate locations to address this....a GF station, etc. etc.

It would seem that the MDR is the only real safe solution

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We have been on several HAL cruises since DW was told to eat gluten free. She is sensitive to gluten and, unlike some people, she can tolerate a little contamination without a reaction. We were on the Koningsdam last month and found that ship to be the best for those following a GF diet. The staff has obviously been well trained on the GF issue and the MDR GF meals tasted better than what DW has had on other recent cruises. I agree with the comment to try to eat lunches in the MDR when possible instead of the lido, where hot GF entrees are very limited. The Koningsdam has a special section near the Canaletto that has specialty breakfast items, including GF bread. Unfortunately, the line waiting for service can be one of the longest in the lido. BTW, the GF bread used for toast at this station is the best DW has ever had. She wishes she could find it locally. She mentioned to the Pinnacle host that the best GF bread was in the lido and the next time we dined at that restaurant, she was given this bread.

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I have sat at many a table in the MDR with cruisers with allergies and witnessed the table Captain bringing to those people the next days menu to choose their offerings.

How to be certain in a buffet the size of the Lido to provide with certainty for all the allergies GF, Nuts, Etc. Etc. and to insure in preparation that none the above come within proximity of each other or the utensils used or served with, is beyond me other than perhaps 6 new separate locations to address this....a GF station, etc. etc.

It would seem that the MDR is the only real safe solution

 

I wish we could have done MDR only, but like I said; we even had problems there.

On a busy Med Cruise, the MDR wasn't always open on time for breakfast and sometimes due to timing we couldn't make dinner, so a late night snack is then a happy occasion, except apparently when you are gluten free.

 

Room service breakfast also had trouble getting my mom gluten free bread that was still edible. Anybody who can stomach cold gluten free bread in the morning has a stronger stomach then my mom. It's obvious that the gluten free bread options they have chosen need to be toasted.

 

It's not hard to accommodate allergies in the Lido. All that's needed is a smart set up (so don't put gluten free options next to gluten option) and 1 dedicated person to make the gluten free option. There used to be 2 people behind each station, but alas, no more.

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We have been on several HAL cruises since DW was told to eat gluten free. She is sensitive to gluten and, unlike some people, she can tolerate a little contamination without a reaction.

 

Yep, me too. Our upcoming Konigsdam cruise had me concerned as well. It will be my first cruise with this issue (and it is NOT BY CHOICE!) Frustrating. I too can tolerate a mild amount but if I have too much gluten I am toast. And fortunately cross contamination is not an issue, thank God. But I did call Holland America with my concerns, particularly in the Lido (as DH prefers to eat there most of the time).

 

I was told that due to the cross contamination issues involved around a buffet - HAL cannot guarantee ANYTHING up there would be gluten free. For you celiacs out there - note that! Nothing can be guaranteed up there because of cross contamination issues. HAL said that if that were to be a major issue for you their suggestion would be to stick with the Dining Room or Speciality Restaurants.

 

Given DH's preferences (particularly on port days for breakfast) my question was getting gluten free toast in the lido and just policing myself otherwise. They couldn't guarantee that either. It may or may not be there. They couldn't guarantee it. Ditto with room service. And this came directly from a HAL representative.

 

So then I asked if it were possible to bring my own gluten free bread on board (since I have to have my "toast" in the morning) and I was told that I could! YAY! What I have to do according to HAL is make sure it is store bought (as opposed to home baked) and that it is within the original packaging and that said packaging has not been opened when I board and I am good to go.

 

So, just to insure I don't have to skip my toast in the morning and to insure I can actually get a hamburger with a good bun if I want -- I plan on bringing some bread with me and then keeping it in the fridge in the cabin. I understand they will toast it for me in the Lido (although again if there is a cross contamination issue for you it may not work -- but YAY it will for me since CR isn't an issue).

 

So this is a heads up I guess. Beware the Lido if you have a gluten sensitivity.

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So then I asked if it were possible to bring my own gluten free bread on board (since I have to have my "toast" in the morning) and I was told that I could! YAY! What I have to do according to HAL is make sure it is store bought (as opposed to home baked) and that it is within the original packaging and that said packaging has not been opened when I board and I am good to go.

 

Would the same go for any prepackaged snacks? For example, since I'm not much of a bread person anymore (I do like some good gluten free bread, but it isn't a deal breaker for me and I can't always eat much in the mornings), but have celiac and am sensitive to cross contamination, could I bring something like Kind Bars or other options for quick snacks? Thinking about days where we might need to be off ship early and can't work it out to be in the MDR for breakfasts. :confused:

 

I'd be worried about cross contamination at a buffet no matter what because despite people's best efforts, things happen in a busy environment like that. For a buffet, unless there was a totally separate section dedicated to gluten free that didn't have any gluten near it, it's just too difficult to manage properly for the really sensitive folks (like me!). It's easier to manage that risk in a kitchen where you don't have passengers around needing things or interrupting to ask questions like the buffet would.

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Would the same go for any prepackaged snacks? For example, since I'm not much of a bread person anymore (I do like some good gluten free bread, but it isn't a deal breaker for me and I can't always eat much in the mornings), but have celiac and am sensitive to cross contamination, could I bring something like Kind Bars or other options for quick snacks? Thinking about days where we might need to be off ship early and can't work it out to be in the MDR for breakfasts. :confused:

 

I would think there wouldn't be a difference? Prepackaged is prepackaged whether it's bread or a snack. :confused: I guess to be on the safe side check with a HAL representative. Getting off the ship early is exactly why DH prefers the Lido for breakfast.

 

I'd be worried about cross contamination at a buffet no matter what because despite people's best efforts, things happen in a busy environment like that. For a buffet, unless there was a totally separate section dedicated to gluten free that didn't have any gluten near it, it's just too difficult to manage properly for the really sensitive folks (like me!). It's easier to manage that risk in a kitchen where you don't have passengers around needing things or interrupting to ask questions like the buffet would.

 

Yep, that is pretty much what we were told. There is just too much going on around a buffet setting that it is just impossible to police it for cross contamination. So to be on the safe side and avoid any potential complaints or problems they just tell you they cannot guarantee anything around the Lido. They may have some gluten free stuff up there, and even a section for gluten free baked goods that I have read, but due to the congestion and traffic up there things happen, so they won't guarantee things won't get some cross contamination.

 

I understand that and it's okay, at least they are being honest with us so that we can plan accordingly. The last thing any of us want is to get sick and feel bad on vacation, but these guys work their butts off and I don't want them to have to cater to me either. I think being able to bring some of my own stuff onboard is a pretty good compromise!

 

Will have to report back about this issue and what happened and so forth after sailing, but that won't be until next March!:o

 

I'll just keep reading and researching until then.

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A few years ago, the policy was to go to the Lido, like I said, my mom had a dedicated person there helping her out, which meant cross contamination concerns were nil. It was weird though, because we hadn't done any buffet on land for years, due to cross contamination concerns. A cruiser on our previous cruise also reported that Lido was the way to go (hotter food and a dedicated person).

 

It's quite weird how HAL either changed policy or didn't update it to all representatives. I know we go through the Rotterdam head office not Seattle.They told me that Lido should be safe and the dedicated person approach should still be followed.

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A few years ago, the policy was to go to the Lido, like I said, my mom had a dedicated person there helping her out, which meant cross contamination concerns were nil. It was weird though, because we hadn't done any buffet on land for years, due to cross contamination concerns. A cruiser on our previous cruise also reported that Lido was the way to go (hotter food and a dedicated person).

 

It's quite weird how HAL either changed policy or didn't update it to all representatives. I know we go through the Rotterdam head office not Seattle.They told me that Lido should be safe and the dedicated person approach should still be followed.

 

 

How does HAL provide a "dedicated person" to the now multiple persons who report individual food allergies today. I wonder if the former system simply got overwhelmed or do they now walk people through the Lido everyday as a group?

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How does HAL provide a "dedicated person" to the now multiple persons who report individual food allergies today. I wonder if the former system simply got overwhelmed or do they now walk people through the Lido everyday as a group?

 

:rolleyes:

 

To the poster who wondered about pre-packaged snacks: you mentioned bringing your own, like the Kind Bars (I love them!) You are most welcome to bring any pre-packaged snacks with you to eat onboard or take with you on shore.

Some without food allergies or celiac are not knowledgeable to the challenges these cause, some going so far as to suggest people stay off cruise and go elsewhere. Some days I hope karma bites them on the butt, some days I say they should be grateful they do not have a need for a lifelong special diet. I travel with a best friend who is afflicted with celiac. I eat as she does when we travel together. What is interesting is that it is easier to eat GF in Western Europe than the US. They are ahead of us in this. We could do a little research ahead of time and found plenty of good information. We even found an excellent gelateria that serves very tasty GF gelato.

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:rolleyes:

 

.......We even found an excellent gelateria that serves very tasty GF gelato.

 

Since most recipes claim gelato is primarily eggs, cream, milk and sugar, why does one suspect they will get gluten in their gelato?

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How does HAL provide a "dedicated person" to the now multiple persons who report individual food allergies today. I wonder if the former system simply got overwhelmed or do they now walk people through the Lido everyday as a group?

 

Same as there is usually somebody jumping into help when you have trouble carrying your food back to your table. For instance; when I was pushing my aunt's wheelchair, there was always somebody rushing up to help me, even when I said I'd be back for the food.

 

 

There are always supervisors on the Lido, jumping in to help, whenever it's needed. Also when they see servers are overwhelmed and they jump in to help serve drinks for example.

 

There are also supervisors in the back, which would come out to help my mom. Those 5 minutes it takes to toast my mom's bagel won't take away from other guests and makes the cruise enjoyable for everybody. There is no need to walk people as 'a group'.

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Since most recipes claim gelato is primarily eggs, cream, milk and sugar, why does one suspect they will get gluten in their gelato?

 

Some not very nice ice cream shops use wheat to thicken, which isn't that nice for the flavor, but depending on how much is used, can't be tasted that much.

 

 

It's also possible that the shop has flavors like 'cookies and cream' that are of course non gluten free, but can also contaminate things.

 

 

Other shops scoop the ice cream on cones, touching the wheat based cone, contaminating the scoop.

 

 

I didn't read your celiac cross contamination post, because my mom is not celiac. She has serious food allergies and has an epi pen with her at all times, so we follow her doctors recommendations and since a small part of allergen can be very dangerous, he told us to be super careful. After all, we have been reading about people getting in trouble in airplanes because a packet of peanuts was opened near them.

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Will have to report back about this issue and what happened and so forth after sailing, but that won't be until next March!:o

 

I'll just keep reading and researching until then.

 

I sail at the end of October and will report back. I did hear back from Ship Services who said they noted my reservation that I need gluten free meals and assured me this should not at all be an issue. I still plan to take on prepackaged food to have some options for early mornings or port days.

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Since most recipes claim gelato is primarily eggs, cream, milk and sugar, why does one suspect they will get gluten in their gelato?

 

As I said, some unknowable about celiac will make assumptions. The is more in gelato/ice cream than just eggs, cream, milk and sugar. How are all those flavors made? ;)

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As I said, some unknowable about celiac will make assumptions. The is more in gelato/ice cream than just eggs, cream, milk and sugar. How are all those flavors made? ;)

 

It is a given there are also flavorings. And that cookies and cream "flavoring" could just possibly include some gluten. Pays to pay attention to the "flavors", that is for sure.

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We complained many times about this, finally having to escalate. Still awaiting upon a reply from HAL which they promised before the 18th, when today is the 19th. Very disappointed about how this was handled. Hoping they make it right with us.

 

 

Since I can't edit my old post anymore; here is the resolution:

 

HAL talked to me yesterday and they did in fact made it right with us. I'm very happy to say my trust was not misplaced. My mom is happy too. Any new bookings will go through the guest services person now to make sure a next cruise will be smooth sailing allergy wise.

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Since I can't edit my old post anymore; here is the resolution:

 

HAL talked to me yesterday and they did in fact made it right with us. I'm very happy to say my trust was not misplaced. My mom is happy too. Any new bookings will go through the guest services person now to make sure a next cruise will be smooth sailing allergy wise.

 

I'm happy to hear that HAL worked for you on this. And, that on your next cruise, you and your Mom will receive the personal service that HAL promises to ensure that your cruise dining experiences are no less than what everyone else receives onboard.

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Summer 2016 we sailed on the MS Westerdam to Alaska. I fill out s form, received dinner menus for the next evening meal and had little problem. Mornings in the MDR were an issue, mostly because of other diners at the table being inconsiderate. ( I ordered my own butter for a reason and one morning had someone snag my GF pancakes because they looked better!) I ate breakfast on the Lido, used caution and had no issues.

Summer 2017 was a disaster. We were on a two week Alaska trip on the MS Amsterdam, last one of the season. Twice we tried eating in the main dining room. The first time the meal was very simple a steak with I think it was fresh Green beans. No appetizer, no starch. Dessert I chose what was supposed to be a flourless chocolate cake. I got three slices of melon (you could have read the newspaper through them) and three blueberries. REALLY!

The second time was the Mariners Luncheon. The plate was served heavily laden with sauces. No one could tell me anything about them. I left the table.

This summer we are tentively planning 2 Weeks to Norway on MS Koningsdam. I’m really hopeful from what I’ve read here. Once again I will notify the company well in advance and fill out any paperwork provided. I will notify the dining staff appropriately. And I will cross my fingers and pray a bit.

For those not familiar Celiacs Disease can effect people in different ways. During the meal I may have a runny nose, but if I get glutened in about 6 hours I will not be more than a few steps from a bathroom, that will last 18 hours. Talk about a way to mess up a vacation.

It’s not a goofy thing or just the disease of the year. There is relief when you finally know what’s wrong by medical procedures and testing. It creates a life changing circumstance.

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I recently cruised on the NA. Overall, they were very helpful in the MDR. You have to watch very carefully in the lido. There were plenty of GF options but sometimes they would use the same spoon for the pasta station that had previously had contact with gluten. They also had gluten free pizza at the pizza place as well as gluten free buns in the Dive In. Each night I needed to fill out a special form for the main dining room ordering what I wanted for the next evening. They did an awesome job of preparing really good food. I didn’t have to suffer through meets without the sauce or other things like that. They were more than accommodating. I hope this is helpful.

 

 

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